The Patriots added a 10th member to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday. Richard Seymour, who played with the Patriots from 2001 to 2008 and won three Super Bowl titles with the team, was officially enshrined in Canton, Ohio.
Seymour chose his high school principal, Titus Duren, to officially introduce him to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. After Duren eulogized in a pre-recorded video of Seymour for a few minutes, the legendary Patriot took the stage and gave a 10-minute speech.
Seymour opened his speech by calling the Hall of Fame “a football haven.”
“Thank you Pro Football Hall of Fame, I’m honored to be here,” Seymour said. “I am overwhelmed today with humility. Not because this moment says about me, but what this moment says about us and what we can do together. I am overwhelmed with gratitude today because I did not arrive alone. None of us did. None of us could have.
“Class of 2022, they say you can judge a man by the company he has. I couldn’t be in better company than you. It’s a privilege to have my name forever linked to yours in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Seymour then thanked his family, who he said this day “belongs to them”.
“Football may be what I do, but family is what I am,” Seymour said. “To my brilliant and beautiful wife Tanya, my high school sweetheart and best friend, who saw the first shot of my career to the last. Thank you sweetie, for all you have added to my life. I am not here without you. I love you deeply.
“Scripture teaches that your riches are in your family. To our wonderful children RJ, Caleb, Kennedy and London, you are my greatest joy. I believe in your gifts. Of all I’ve accomplished, there’s no greater honor than being your father. You continue to make mom and me proud. We love you.”
When Seymour thanked his parents, he shared a fun story about one of his earliest football memories.
“Of course, for my mom, I wouldn’t be here without you or dad, who I know looks up to us with awe and admiration,” Seymour said. “It was 31 years ago this month when you drove me to my first football tryout and I didn’t even get out of the car. Mom, if I tell you three decades later than I’ll wear a golden jacket, you have no reason to believe me. But you believed in me even when I didn’t believe in me.
“You taught me kindness and empathy. Dad taught me the value of hard work and discipline. He was my hero. Together you and Dad instilled in me the most important thing in life. life – as a friend and teammate, as a husband and father, as a man – is to stand up for something, to live by your values, to lead by example, and most importantly, keep God first .
After four years with the University of Georgia, Seymour entered the NFL Draft as a top prospect in 2001. He shared on Saturday that he wished for one thing when entering the draft.
“I knew exactly where I wanted to play, a warm place. The Lord answered that prayer and sent me south to Mass Pike,” Seymour said with a laugh.
While New England certainly isn’t one of the hottest cities in the NFL, Seymour said the Patriots selecting him with the No. 6 pick was “one of the luckiest breaks” of his life. .
“I found my family values to be central to the values of the Patriots,” Seymour said. “I was lucky to join a team of veterans because I had a lot to learn. My freshman year, I walked around with the towels and bought some Dunkin’ Donuts for the guys. I felt like the intern, but I was happy to do it because in return, these generous men were happy to share their experience and wisdom.
That first year ended in triumph for Seymour, helping the Patriots defeat the Rams to win Super Bowl XXXVI, the first in team history.
Seymour thanked several individual members of the Patriots defense for guiding him along the way.
“[Willie McGinest] taught me to be a real professional, to really pay attention to detail,” Seymour said. “Rodney Harrison taught me what it was like to train hard. OTIS (Otis Smith) taught me how to take care of my body. Ty Law taught me how to take joy in wrestling. AP (Anthony Pleasant) was my spiritual leader. [Mike] Vrabel was busy designing rooms for us to open up to, which he still does to this day.
There was also another teammate Seymour wanted to mention.
“We had a young quarterback, but we made it work,” Seymour said with a laugh.
Seymour and the Patriots defense were arguably most responsible for the first three Super Bowl wins, at least on the court. Seymour wanted to pay tribute to Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Saturday, saying it all “wouldn’t have happened without one of the best owners in the sport.”
“RKK, I call him the godfather, you may know him as Mr. Kraft, to the entire Kraft family, you have shown us that being consistent in the little things adds up to the big things,” Seymour said. “Always with heart and humanity. You laid out the vision and gained success in the right way. RKK, thank you for being a dear mentor and friend. You too will honor this step. Patriots Nation, we have another one in Canton.
Finally, he thanked his former head coach, Bill Belichick.
“Of course this wouldn’t have happened without Coach Belichick,” Seymour said. “Coach, you are the best coach in the game. The lessons I learned from you have set me up for success. Not just the game, but in life. Work hard, be thorough in your preparation, support your teammates, respect your opponents and put the team first. Coach, thank you for everything you taught me. These are the values that position me to serve as captain in my next act.
The Patriots traded Seymour to the Raiders just before the start of the 2009 season. Seymour said the Raiders were actually his favorite team growing up and that “learning from Al Davis was an unexpected gift”.
“Above all, he was a great leader,” Seymour said of Davis. “He welcomed and listened to every voice. It didn’t matter if you were male or female, black or white, gay or straight, he believed football was a game of values. Mark Davis continues to serve as a beacon today, lighting that torch because he knows it makes football better and the right thing to do.
To close his speech, Seymour addressed a message to his fellow Hall of Famers.
“For the past 31 years, football, our game, has given me possibilities I never imagined,” Seymour said. “With this privilege comes a deep responsibility, the responsibility of stewardship. The responsibility to put others first, to take care of the details, to keep learning, to keep giving for the long-term strength of our game. Let’s pledge today and every day to be guardians of our game and its values.
“In recognition of these values, with respect for those who passed them on to us, with faith in the generations to whom we pass them on, I accept this honor, the greatest of my life.”
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